AArchitects, like Michael Martino from MMP Architects in Cairns, are design and technical experts. RCHITECT or draftsman? Should you go to the expense of hiring an architect or whether the more affordable option of a draftsman is sufficient to add value when building or extending your home.
From a cost point of view, a professional architect is going to cost more. And if they have a trendy reputation you can add more to the bill, just because their name is associated with it.
But does that mean that for us mere mortals we can only consider the architect option after we’ve won the lotto?
It really is not as simple as that; an architect is more money, but do you get more benefit? You can try and cash in on that trendy name at sale time and ask a higher price.
On the other hand, they say you save when you use a draftsman service. A good draftsman is more than capable of providing not only the design but all the technical drawings you need for council and planning approvals and will provide the most amazing 3D and walk-through images of your new build project. Do note that the more high tech your drawings, they more they bill too.
There are pros and cons in a decision to use either profession. So at the risk of offending both, here is what I believe they are: The architect The pros: Architecture is a profession that combines design and technical expertise. Architects are paid to be creative, so they should come up with outof-the-box ways to solve problems. An architect is able to fully project manage the build and has the potential to add value, not just by association, but by a stunning design. Architects tend to have knowledge of new and exciting building products and materials, which means your new home can be more efficient, beautiful or both, than others on the market.
The cons: Being a specialised profession, architects charge accordingly. Occasionally clients feel their architect is expressing too much creative vision which is out of line with their needs. The draftsman The pros: They’re specialists at providing all the drawings and plans you need for tradies, planning and council requirements. They’re a cost-effective alternative who have the technical knowledge to translate your plans into workable drawings. A draftsman will listen to your requirements and only question items that will not work physically or comply with related building legislation and they are usually a quicker alternative.
The cons: A draftsman is not paid to be creative. He or she will design as per your concepts – they won’t tell you whether or not it will look good. As a result there is always a risk of aesthetic mistakes and this can sometimes mean the full value of your project is not realised.
Photo: STEWART MCLEAN
Considering the pros and cons of both is important when you consider your next project, but you should also take your personal circumstances into account. The simple rule is that for small, or basic projects, go with a draftsman. But for a top-end scheme, consider an architect. However, if you really have no design ability, or are worried and have no clear ideas, use an architect – the added cost is likely to be recouped at sale time.
So now, confession time. Who did I use? Having recently built our new family home, I have to confess, we used a draftsman. But that’s because I had done my own full set of scaled drawings and we worked together perfectly. However, when I consider just how many hours I spent sketching, throwing away and starting again – did I really save any money – who knows?
* Andrew Winter is a real estate consumer champion and the host of Selling Houses Australia on the Lifestyle Channel.